Case #88-2022: Monitoring Inquiry – B-Epic Worldwide, LLC
BBB NATIONAL PROGRAMS
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council
Case Number 88-2022: Monitoring Inquiry – B-Epic Worldwide, LLC
B-Epic Worldwide, LLC (“B-Epic” or the “Company”) is a multi-level direct-selling company located in Layton, Utah that markets health, detox, and fitness products.
Basis of Inquiry
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) is a national advertising self-regulation program administered by BBB National Programs. This inquiry was commenced by DSSRC pursuant to its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry.
This inquiry concerns earnings and product claims disseminated by the Company‘s salesforce members on social media. The representative claims that formed the basis for this inquiry are set forth below:
- “you want to make, I mean, if someone’s upset about making $20,000 a week in the binary when you have that with your check match you’d be making a million dollars”
- “Do you suffer from anxiety? Do you have chronic pain? Minimize feelings of stress and anxiety; Help manage pain and reduce inflammation; Promote relaxation; Assist in relieving insomnia.”
- “Strengthen Immune Response; Boost and Balance Immune System; Help protect the Body Against Illness”
- “I’ve been diagnosed with chronic migraines and have Rx’s for Imitrex and Promethazine. I was taking a Promethazine 1x a day and an Imitrex at least once a week for a really bad migraine. I have taken ZERO since I started b-Epic. I’ve had mild headaches but NO migraines at all.”
- “I have suffered from migraines 🤕 (weekly) for years and have not had one in almost 2 months. Big WHOA for me!! I no longer take my daily migraine medication!! The scale hasn’t moved too much but the inches have!!! I sleep sooo good and my stress level way down”
- “B-Epic Supplements - That Will Change Your Life. From anxiety killers to immunity boosters, we have all for your needs 💯"
- “Do you suffer with stress and/or anxiety 🤯😡? Both emotional and physical stress can put a huge strain on our bodies ability to function properly. Our elev8 capsules contain adaptogenic herbs 🌱 or "adaptogens" along with other natural ingredients which help the body deal with stress naturally along with more energy 🏃♀️, mental clarity, combating fatigue 😴 and providing 100% bioavailable phytonutrients to improve overall health.”
- When I started with my B-Epic journey I was in an unhappy marriage, 17st9 and suffering with – two herniated discs in my neck; Fibromyalgia; depression and anxiety; I was on a lot of pain medication and barely surviving each day; From my trial I lost 4lb but more than that within 30 minutes of taking elev8 my mood had lifted and I had more energy to do things I wouldn’t normally do; Fast Forward a year my divorce is going through, I’m pain free and I’ve lost 6 stone.”
- “B-Slim Tablets health benefits may include:
-Help fight obesity
-Help relieve stress and anxiety
-Normalize cholesterol levels
-Decrease appetite and food cravings
-Improving blood glucose levels in diabetic patients
-Increase muscle mass and strength
-Improve mood, concentration and sleep depth
-Promoting weight loss and healthy weight control”
- “Naturally Increases #Energy and #Stamina. Reduces Fatigue. Supports Optimal Mental and Physical Performance. Enhances Mental Clarity, #Focus, and #Memory. Helps Boost #Mood and Relieve Feelings of Stress and Anxiety. Strengthens Immune System and Speeds Recovery Time.”
- Elev8 components together and separately can provide the following health benefits; healthier vessels and joints; skin diseases disappear; lower sugar and cholesterol; less inflammation, pain and migraine; weight loss and better metabolism; faster recovery from illness, injury and surgery; stronger bones; blood pressure returns to normal.”
- “No more headaches; No more tremors; No more constipation while taking my vitamins. I could not take regular multivitamins because it would make me constipated; No more insane mood swings; No more anxiety and depression; Not bloated anymore; No more brain fog; My menstrual cycle is not killing me anymore. (no cramps, no more nausea and energy to get through the day); Insane nail growth.”
B-Epic did not dispute that the claims identified by DSSRC were inappropriate and did not attempt to provide DSSRC with evidence to substantiate the claims.
Upon receipt of DSSRC’s Notice of Inquiry, the Company began attempting to contact the salesforce members responsible for the posts at issue and requested that the posts be removed.
B-Epic was successful in removing eight of the twelve posts (including the one earnings claim post) identified by DSSRC.
With respect to the remaining four posts, the Company provided DSSRC with copies of the three separate notices that were sent to each of the four salesforce members who were responsible for the claims, including the “final notice.” The Company informed DSSRC that because those four salesforce members failed to respond to the Company’s take-down request, their accounts have been suspended and locked.
Analysis and Recommendation
As stated in DSSRC’s Guidance on Earnings Claims for the Direct Selling Industry (“the Earnings Claim Guidance”), it is misleading for a direct selling company and/or its salesforce members to make any earnings claims unless the direct selling company and/or its salesforce members: (A) have a reasonable basis for the claim at the time the claim is made; and (B) have documentation that substantiates the claim at the time the claim is made. Furthermore, earnings claims must be substantiated and representative of a level of earnings that can be generally expected by the audience.
DSSRC found that the one earnings claim that was brought to the attention of B-Epic and which referenced “making a million dollars” was inappropriate and necessitated removal. Although the social media post at issue did not include a disclosure of generally expected results, DSSRC determined that even a clear and conspicuous disclosure would be ineffective to qualify the amount of earnings referenced in the post. As DSSRC notes in its Earnings Claim Guidance, depending on the level of success, some income claims and lifestyle claims may be so extraordinary that they cannot be effectively qualified by disclosure of generally expected results.
As such, DSSRC determined that the Company’s efforts to have the post removed were necessary and appropriate.
DSSRC appreciated the good faith actions taken by B-Epic to remove seven of the eleven social media posts that referenced the efficacy of B-Epic products to address health-related conditions.
As noted above in the Company Position, B-Epic did not attempt to provide evidence to substantiate the product performance claims at issue in this inquiry. In the absence of reliable evidence to support the product claims, DSSRC agreed that the Company’s efforts to have the social media posts removed were necessary and appropriate. DSSRC noted that the performance claims which reference results such as relieving stress and anxiety, normalizing cholesterol levels, improving blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, increasing mood and concentration, decreasing inflammation, etc., were substantive claims pertaining to health-related conditions that would require reliable and competent scientific evidence as substantiation for such representations.
As DSSRC has noted in previous inquiries, the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) standard of competent and reliable scientific evidence has been defined in FTC case law as "tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.'
When a direct selling company such as B-Epic is made aware of an improper claim that was made by an individual that was an active distributor when the claim was made but that has since become an inactive distributor of the company, DSSRC acknowledges that the direct selling company may not be able to require the former distributor to remove the claim. In that instance, DSSRC nonetheless recommends that the direct selling company make a bona fide good faith effort to have the improper claim removed. Here, DSSRC concluded that the Company demonstrated a bona fide, good faith effort to address DSSRC’s concerns by contacting the salesforce members responsible for the social media posts and requesting that they be removed. With respect to the four posts that remain publicly available, B-Epic provided DSSRC with copies of the notices sent by its compliance team to the salesforce members and suspended those individuals’ accounts when they failed to respond to the Company’s request to take down the posts at issue.
Notwithstanding these efforts, DSSRC recommends that the Company attempt to contact the social media platform where the posts were disseminated to inform the platform that the posts include inappropriate claims not authorized by the Company and request that the posts be removed. As DSSRC noted in previous inquiries, if the social media platform where the subject post was made provides a mechanism for reporting trademark or copyright violations, DSSRC recommends that the direct selling company promptly utilize such mechanism and seek removal of the subject claims and posts. If the subject claim occurred on a website or platform without a reporting mechanism, DSSRC recommends that in addition to contacting the former distributor in writing as described above, the Company contact the website or platform in writing and request the removal of the subject claim or post.
Finally, the Company may wish to consider posting a comment on the social media feed of the salesforce members responsible for those posts indicating that such posts are not authorized by B-Epic and that its products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any serious health-related conditions
DSSRC expressed its appreciation for B-Epic’s actions in removing the one earnings claim at issue as well as seven of the eleven social media posts that referenced the efficacy of the Company’s product to treat health-related conditions. In the absence of evidence supporting such claims, DSSRC concluded that B-Epic’s actions to seek the removal of the posts were necessary and appropriate. With respect to the four posts pertaining to product performance that have not been taken down by the Company’s salesforce members, DSSRC determined that B-Epic demonstrated a bona fide, good faith effort to address DSSRC’s concerns by contacting the salesforce members responsible for the posts and requesting that such claims be removed and, ultimately, suspending the accounts of those individuals when they failed to respond to the Company’s take-down requests.
DSSRC also recommends that the Company attempt to contact the social media platform where the posts were disseminated to inform them that the posts include inappropriate claims not authorized by the Company and request that the posts be removed.
“B-Epic Worldwide LLC agrees to take DSSRC’s recommendations into consideration. We are grateful that DSSRC recognized our good faith efforts to assure that our salesforce members are conducting themselves compliantly pursuant to our Company Policy & Procedures.”
(Case No. 88-2022, closed on 10/13/22)
© 2022 BBB National Programs, Inc.
 DSSRC Guidance on earnings Claims for the Direct Selling Industry, section 1.
 Id at section 10.
 See, e.g. Vital Basics, Inc., C-4107 (Consent April 26, 2004); see also In Re Schering Corp., 118 F.T.C. 1030, 1123 (1994).
 See Case #56-2022 Immunotec.